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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Boxing robots clashed with Hollywood titan George Clooney at the weekend movie box office, and the fighting machines came out the winner.
Robot action flick "Real Steel" starring Hugh Jackman topped the domestic box office and rang up $49.4 million in global ticket sales. Clooney's political thriller "Ides of March" finished second.
"Real Steel" brought in an estimated $27.3 million over three days at U.S. and Canadian theaters, distributor Walt Disney Co said Sunday. Ticket sales beat studio forecasts for an opening in the low- to mid-$20 million range.
The film added $22.1 million from 19 international markets, for a combined total of $49.4 million. The movie opened in one-quarter of international markets and will debut more widely in the coming weeks.
"Real Steel" stars Jackman as a father who works with his son to restore a battle-ready robot to fight for a championship. The DreamWorks-produced film cost about $110 million to make and featured giant, remote-controlled robots rather than computer images common in action and sci-fi films.
The movie drew overwhelmingly positive reactions from audiences, said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution. The film earned an A on average from filmgoers polled by CinemaScore, and an A+ from those under 25.
About 12 percent of sales, or $3.2 million, came from showings on giant Imax screens.
"Ides of March," the only other new film in wide release, finished second with $10.4 million domestically, slightly ahead of studio estimates.
Clooney directed, co-wrote and co-starred in the film as a Democratic presidential candidate fighting to win a key primary as a scandal hits his campaign. Ryan Gosling plays the central character, an ambitious spokesman thrust into a moral dilemma. Other stars include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei.
Cross Creek Pictures produced the film, which was adapted from an off-Broadway play, for about $12.5 million, and Sony Corp unit Columbia Pictures distributed the movie in the United States. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B on average.
Last weekend's box office leader, family film "Dolphin Tale," fell to third place with $9.2 million. The feel-good movie, based on the true story of an injured dolphin rehabilitated with a prosthetic tail, has brought in $49.1 million since its debut.
Baseball drama "Moneyball," starring Brad Pitt, stayed in the game during its third week in theaters. The movie earned $7.5 million, landing in fourth place and bringing the total since its release to $49.3 million.
Taking fifth place was "50/50," a buddy comedy about a young man's battle with cancer. The film generated $5.5 million domestically during its second weekend in theaters. Its total ticket sales to date sit at $17.3 million.
"Dolphin Tale" was distributed by Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc. "Ides of March" and "Moneyball" were released by Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp. Summit Entertainment released "50/50."
Reporting by Lisa Richwine